lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-k(ə-)rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -k(ə-)rəs How to pronounce licorice (audio) \

Definition of licorice

1a : the dried root of a European leguminous plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers also : an extract of this used especially in medicine, liquors, and confectionery
b : a candy flavored with licorice or a substitute (such as anise)
2 : a plant yielding licorice also : a related plant

Examples of licorice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Odors linked to foods that are popular in some countries but not others, such as bubble gum or licorice, might skew test results for some individuals. New York Times, "Could a Smell Test Screen People for Covid?," 19 Jan. 2021 Notes of raisin, cherry and licorice come in as the beer warms in the glass. Star Tribune, "Boozy, barrel-aged beers perfect for cold weather," 16 Dec. 2020 Ordering a 4-pound bag of childhood-favorite shoestring licorice on Amazon and slurping it down within a week. Wired Staff, Wired, "The Video Games WIRED Loved Most in 2020," 26 Dec. 2020 Coffee and milk chocolate lead the way, joined by complex layers of bourbon, vanilla, licorice, blackstrap molasses and old wood. Star Tribune, "Boozy, barrel-aged beers perfect for cold weather," 16 Dec. 2020 This winter classic, first released in 2006, is brewed with licorice, cherry bark and molasses then aged in a blend of new oak, bourbon and wine barrels. oregonlive, "16 Oregon beers to give - and some even delivered - for the holidays," 20 Nov. 2020 Other common names for oshá include bear root, Porter’s lovage, Porter’s licorice-root, wild lovage, loveroot, Porter’s ligusticum, bear medicine, Colorado cough root, Indian root, Indian parsley, wild parsley, mountain ginseng and mountain carrot. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, "How to make tea with herbs from your own garden," 4 Jan. 2021 Epara's natural cleansing oil targets hyperpigmentation for medium to deep skin tones, harnessing the healing powers of moringa seed, marula, and argan oils, as well as licorice root and plankton extracts, to help fade dark spots over time. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why a Cleansing Oil Is the Secret to Glowing Skin This Winter," 2 Jan. 2021 The product is soaked with lemon peel and licorice root to help with brightening. Maya Mcdowell, Marie Claire, "A Beauty Editor's Guide to Winter Skincare," 28 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'licorice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of licorice

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for licorice

Middle English licorice, from Anglo-French licoris, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Latin glycyrrhiza, from Greek glykyrrhiza, from glykys sweet + rhiza root — more at dulcet, root

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Time Traveler for licorice

Time Traveler

The first known use of licorice was in the 13th century

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Statistics for licorice

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Licorice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for licorice



English Language Learners Definition of licorice

: a candy made from the dried root of a European plant


lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-kə-rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -rəs \

Kids Definition of licorice

1 : the dried root of a European plant or a juice from it used in medicine and in candy
2 : candy flavored with licorice


variants: or chiefly British liquorice \ ˈlik(-​ə)-​rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -​rəs How to pronounce licorice (audio) \

Medical Definition of licorice

1 : a European leguminous plant of the genus Glycyrrhiza (G. glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers
b : an extract of glycyrrhiza commonly prepared in the form of a gummy or rubbery paste

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More from Merriam-Webster on licorice

Nglish: Translation of licorice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of licorice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about licorice

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